ExxonMobil, Petrobras headline Brazil’s 14th bid round

ExxonMobil Corp. will partner with Brazilian state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) on six exploration blocks in the Campos basin off Brazil.

ExxonMobil Corp. will partner with Brazilian state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) on six exploration blocks in the Campos basin off Brazil.

The firms were awarded the blocks on Sept. 27 as part of the country’s 14th bid round conducted by the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels (ANP). ExxonMobil and Petrobras headlined the event by submitting the largest signing bonus, $700 million, for Campos basin Block C-M-346, interest of which will be split 50-50 with Petrobras as operator.

Five more Campos basin blocks shared 50-50 by the firms and operated by Petrobras include Block C-M-411, for which the firms will pay $375 million, as well as Blocks C-M-210, C-M-277, C-M-344, and C-M-413. ExxonMobil also will operate with 100% interest Blocks C-M-37 and C-M-67.

In the Sergipe-Alagoas basin, ExxonMobil will team as operator with 50% interest with Queiroz Galvao Exploracao e Producao SA (QGEP), 30%, and Murphy Oil Corp., 20%, on Blocks SEAL-M-501 and SEAL-M-503. Murphy says the acreage is near several major Petrobras discoveries.

Those blocks are next to Blocks SEAL-M-351 and SEAL-M-428, in which QGEP has farmed out 50% interest and operatorship to ExxonMobil and 20% interest to Murphy. The ultradeepwater blocks are 80-100 km off Brazil and cover 1,500 sq km.

QGEP will be reimbursed for 70% of the $30 million signing bonus that it paid for the blocks as part of ANP’s 13th round in October 2015. The company also will be fully reimbursed for seismic costs related to the blocks, among other considerations.

Petrobras also took operatorship and 100% interest in onshore Block PAR-T-175 in the Parana basin. The firm said it hopes to find large gas deposits in the area, which is near the Brazil-Bolivia gas pipeline.

The 14th round awarded 37 blocks covering 25,000 sq km to 17 companies from eight countries. Contracts for the blocks are expected to be signed until Jan. 31, 2018.

Two more auctions will be held by ANP this year, the 2nd and 3rd presalt rounds on Oct. 27. In 2018 and 2019, three bid rounds will be held each year: one for mature areas, one for the presalt, and one for exploration blocks.

Contact Matt Zborowski at matthewz@ogjonline.com.

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